Muscat: All labour camps in the Muscat Governorate must have a doctor to provide good healthcare, decent living quarters, a proper canteen and clean toilets to ensure proper hygiene for workers.
Muscat Municipality has issued a list of regulations labour camps must follow to provide a decent living environment for workers in these camps so that they do not fall sick as well as to avoid disturbing locals and expats who live in areas that house labour camps across the country.
The list of regulations that need to be complied with were enshrined in Article 90, which stipulates that a labour camp must contain three following amenities: worker dormitories, a restaurant, and toilets.
In addition, companies that do have permissions to set up labour camps, must provide proper medical care to the inmates of the camp by setting up a clinic, either through private or government operators.
Muscat Municipality said, “The dormitories must be well ventilated and illuminated and the space for per worker should not be less than four metres, including a bed and a cupboard. It is prohibited to use multi-storey beds or put the bed in non-sleeping areas such as hallways.”
In the case of those camps that accommodate 100 or more workers, an external ward must be set up so that sick workers can be kept isolated in quarantine, thereby preventing other workers from falling sick.
In this context, the municipality said, “The camp must be constructed from fire-resistant materials, and if the camp owners allow their inhabitants to stay in tents, the fabric of the tent must be made of fire-proof materials. Cars, engines, generators or any gas or petrol-powered machines cannot be installed right next to these tents, and they must be a maximum of 10 metres away from the tent.
“Workers’ dormitories should be equipped with fire-fighting tools, a first-aid kit and should be equipped with waste bins made from fire-resistant materials,” Muscat Municipality added.
In addition, if a labour camp accommodates more than 500 workers, that camp must host a resident doctor who will oversee a fully-equipped medical clinic. If there are more than 100 workers at a camp, there must on site be a qualified and experienced nurse who is skilled in first aid.
Further, this clinic or nursing office must have two more workers capable of performing first aid, using medical devices, and with the knowledge and ability to dispense proper medication when required.
A register must be prepared to log the occupational injuries of workers living in the camp, and should these injuries take place, the competent authorities must be informed of them, once they have occurred.
The move to issue standard methods of care and accommodation for labour camps in the capital comes after three areas in and around Muscat were designated no-go zones for expat blue-collar workers, after many were found to live in areas that were designated for families, thereby violating the country’s labour laws. The three areas in Muscat that have been designed as no-go zones for migrant workers as of May 2019 are Bausher, Amerat and Mabella.
Special campuses for about 40,000 workers will be set up across Oman in a span of about two years. The move is part of the Sultanate’s efforts to provide proper accommodation to blue-collar workers in the country. The focus of these cities was to not just provide accommodation, but also other amenities for foreign migrant workers.
Welcoming this, a labourer at a construction site in Muscat told Times of Oman, “Our work is really hard and tiring and we look forward to resting when we go back to our quarters. If we have good quarters, then this means we will be able to rest better and do a better job.”
A social worker who often distributed water and laban to blue-collar workers in the country, said, “When we sometimes visit the labour sites these people work at, we come to know just how hard they work so they need good accommodation and care. I am glad this has been announced and look forward to it coming into effect soon.”